More Than Serving Tea

Image is Everything

Do you care about what others think of you?

I do. Sometimes I don’t care at all because I’m at the gym to get my cardio done and mascara and my version of cardio don’t mix well. Sometimes I care too much (like during junior high and high school, and when I’m around a group of people I don’t know well). Maybe it was all that great training I got in high school – poms, speech team, student council and the school newspaper. You learn about image and presenting yourself well. You learn about diction, eye contact and presence. You learn that even if you don’t care what other people think of you those people are forming opinions about you.

This weekend I’m headed off to Ohio to spend the weekend with some amazing InterVarsity students and staff to talk with and learn from one another about God, Jesus, faith, culture, ethnicity and identity. I cannot say this enough. I love my job.

We will be talking about image – what we think of ourselves and perhaps what others think of us. My hope is that we will be honest with ourselves and with one another.

So I’ll be honest. The worst part of public speaking isn’t the public speaking (even if it can feel as vulnerable as standing on stage with nothing on but your underwear). It’s packing for speaking gigs. Yup. Stupid? Yes. No. Maybe. Packing unnerves me because I want to project just the right vibe – accessible, warm, engaging, cool, but not trying-too-hard-to-be-cool cool, fashionable but not in a materialistic way, intelligent, prepared and wise but not old. That is a lot of for an outfit to do, right? And knowing that about myself makes me feel vain and foolish.

Where is the middle or appropriate ground when dealing with the way we look and present ourselves? I feel like it’s particularly dicey for women, and there additional issues for women of color. What do you worry about when it comes to your image and where or how do you draw the line?

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  1. The Balancing Act of a Successful Woman - Kathy Khang - God's Politics Blog pingbacked on 13 years, 3 months ago


  1. * tja says:

    My generic answer: To draw the line I think you have to know and consider what your values and priorities are, what paying attention to any part of image will do to improve your pursuit of them, and consider the same for the things that you could give your energy to instead. Decide ahead of time at what points you think more is lost than gained in spending time in deliberation, and when those points are reached, just make a decision, even if it feels arbitrary, remembering that so far as you know, it would hurt you to give more thought to it..

    As you’ve touched on, the point of paying attention to image is that image communicates. If one has good substance but poor presentation, others don’t benefit from it as much because it is not as accessible to them. So another way to draw the line is at the point where one’s deliberations stop having others in mind in this way and come back to things that only affect one’s self.

    Is that the Imago Dei conference that you’re going to? I’m interested to hear about how that goes. Particularly seeing that you’ll be there, I’d like to have been there (due to ‘Oh hey, you wrote a book I liked, how cool’ syndrome).


    | Reply Posted 13 years, 4 months ago

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